Quill Books before print mediamediamediamediamediamedia
choosing a writing support
making quires and sheets
preparing the page
copying the text
correcting the text
decorating the book
binding the book
using the book
> Decorating the Book > Miniatures

Mini paintings

Miniatures represent the most elaborate decoration on the medieval page. They encompass scenes for which a significant amount of space - and color - was reserved. Some are boxed in by a frame, while others appear to float mid air, like this scene from a play by Terence. Their size and level of detail can vary widely. Books of Hours often contain at least one full-page miniature. Some of these were mass-produced and could be picked out by a client as he ordered the book.
More common are smaller miniatures of half a page or less, like the one seen here. These were normally added after the copying of the text was completed: the scribe would bring the completed quire to the decorator, who would subsequently do his thing. Miniatures are in effect mini paintings executed by well-known artists: they added significantly to the bill of the reader who commissioned a book.